Young Finnish people of Muslim background: Creating “Spiritual Becomings” and “Coming Communities” in Their Artworks

Helena Oikarinen-Jabai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


In this essay I discuss artworks by a sample of young people with a Muslim background who participated in the Numur—Islam and I exhibition, which was organised as part of the Young Muslims and Resilience (2016-2018) research project. Art exhibitions were staged in November 2017 and March 2018 with eighteen young adult participants/co-researchers. Their artworks included video and textile installations, photo collages, paintings, calligraphy and poetry, dealing with issues such as faith, dialogues between religious communities, gender, belonging and sexual diversity. Here I concentrate on some works by the participants who stated that they leaned on Sufism or spirituality in their working processes, or whose works expressed qualities that may be reflected through the spectrum in which rhizomes of Sufi ways of understanding human existence in the world are present. In their artworks, the participants created fresh ideas about possible encounters, which I interpret as being linked to modern and postmodern ideas of relationships between spaces and “becoming communities.” Likewise, these ideas can be traced to our common philosophical heritage, which is partly based on spiritual mystic thought and practices of different religions. By using art, the participants could embody this legacy, create spaces for themselves and open landscapes for discussions between Muslim believers and people with different religions and worldviews.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOpen Cultural Studies
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)148-160
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 6132 Visual arts and design

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